Quotation by Gerald Mast

It is difficult to compare Chaplin's and Keaton's gifts. Chaplin's fertile period lasted 38 years (some say even longer); Keaton's lasted about ten. Chaplin's art depended upon a minute perfection and precision; Keaton's relied on speed and a tumult of imaginative, farfetched ideas. Although Chaplin the director was more an intellect than Keaton the director, Charlie the character was less an intellect than Buster the character. Although women were important metaphorically in Chaplin's films, sexual attraction and masculine virility were far more dominant in Keaton's pictures. The Chaplin films were smaller—centering on small facial gestures and objects; the Keaton films were larger—centering on human figures against a vast physical environment and huge, complicated objects. The Chaplin films moved slowly and quietly; the Keaton films with great pace and vigor. And yet Charlie was the character who laughed, smiled, and cried, whereas Buster was the one who rarely moved a facial muscle.
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